So, here it is: The first chapter of my first-ever interactive fiction! I hope you don’t mind the slow start here, as it’s a bit of set-up before we get to the good stuff (the how of it depends on what YOU choose). You may not recognize the girl you see here at first… but don’t worry, you soon will.
For those who came here for Darkiplier, have patience. He’ll show up in a little while (again, how quickly our beloved Hellgod makes His appearance depends on your choices).
The rules are simple: You have two choices at the end of each chapter. Vote for the one you want by REPLYING to the chapter post. For my little nonnymice, don’t worry; you’re welcome to join in the voting, by leaving an ask in my inbox declaring your choice. Whatever the voting method you select, remember that you cannot choose both and you cannot make up a third option.
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Right now, there’s a very unhappy girl in this chapter who could use your help. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Phoebe gave an almighty scream and chucked the vase at the wall. It gave a satisfying crash in response as it hit the cheap drywall, before the shards plummeted to the floor. She stared at the broken pieces for a long moment, breathing hard, doing her best not to cry. It wasn’t fair, it just wasn’t fair!
How could her cousin have such good luck with finding a good man and a solid career, while her own life was crap? Not that she begrudged Amy any happiness. Phoebe loved her like a sister, had always been close to her, and had been genuinely happy for her after meeting Amy’s cheerful, kind and very funny boyfriend for the first time. But it didn’t stop the feelings of jealousy from fomenting in Phoebe’s heart, especially now that her own life had become a shambles at this point.
In contrast to Amy’s good fortune, Phoebe’s newly minted ex-significant other – she didn’t dare to even think his name, or risk a crying jag – was a stone cold prick. She wanted to hate him, she really did, but instead she just hurt. Years had been wasted with him! He had lied, cheated and, finally, had just walked out on her earlier tonight. He had left her behind for, in his own words, someone who was “prettier” than she.
Phoebe had always been self conscious about her too-thin frame, and her strong familial resemblance to her cousin (close enough that they could pass for twins). Sometimes, it felt like she had been standing in the other girl’s shadow growing up, never able to move forward. Amy had been supportive, of course, and helpfully allowed Phoebe to raid her closet and makeup bag whenever a confidence boost was needed. It had taken a long time for Phoebe to get comfortable in her own skin, and she had thought she’d found someone who accepted and loved her unconditionally.
She had been wrong… so very, very wrong.
In spite of herself, she began to weep. Her chest hurt from having held back the tears for even this long. Amid her pain, there was the undeniable taint of self-loathing. Am I so unloveable? Why is it that the one person I gave everything to won’t stay?
The more she thought about it, the angrier she got. The dark cloud followed her through her nightly routine, and taunted her as she readied herself for bed. She spent hours tossing and turning, torturing herself over it. The sheets tangled around her legs, nearly mummifying her in her emotional state as she lay helpless against the torrent of her self-recriminations.
First she unjustly railed at herself: What did I do to drive him away? Why wasn’t I good enough?
Then, rightfully, at her former love: How could he do this to me? How could he leave me like this? How could he hurt me this way?
Try as she might, she didn’t sleep at all. She lay awake all night, anticipating his footsteps but hearing only a yawning silence surrounding her, intermittently broken only by the sound of her own tears as they soaked her pillow. The very pillow she clung to, for lack of a warm body laying beside her.
She rose the following morning, exhausted, and called in sick to work. She would be useless without any sleep… not that they really needed her anyway, as it was yet another dead-end job she was forced to endure to pay her bills.
Instead, she took a mental health day for herself, reading and watching television in the quiet of her apartment. She did crossword puzzles and attempted to work on her long-neglected knitting. She cleaned house, dumping his remaining belongings into a few cardboard boxes and depositing the resulting packages on the front porch. It was his fault he’d left them behind anyway, and if someone stole them before he claimed them, it’d be no skin off her nose.
The clock relentlessly ticked forward, reminding her that time, regardless of her personal wounds, would continue to march on.
Inevitably, she grew restless and decided to go for a walk. It was a beautiful day, the sun’s golden rays of light touching the earth. It seemed to mock her, but she hoped that the sunshine would likewise brighten her spirits somewhat.
The walk was an easy one. She took a relaxed, meandering pace, allowing her mind to wander. The sidewalks almost seemed to gleam as she made her way through town. She paid no mind to the other people passing by, occasionally window shopping as a means to distract herself.
There was a breeze that carried the smell of lavender in the air from a nearby flower store. She inhaled, and felt the knot inside her untwist a little. This wasn’t so bad. Not so bad at all, to be alone. At least for today.
Eventually, her journey brought her to an older section of town, where the paving was cracked and the paint on the buildings’ facades had faded. She stopped and considered the two small storefronts before her. To her left, a quaint little coffee shop that was little more than a hole in the wall. The signage was friendly, however, promising fresh homebrewed coffee from a family-owned business. Maybe a simple cup of coffee and a croissant would improve her outlook. She wasn’t hungry, but she hadn’t really eaten much during the day, as she had had little in the way of appetite.
To her right, there was an occult shop. The windows were blacked out, and designs drawn on them that vaguely reminded her of that Wiccan stuff one of her girlhood friends had flirted with back in their high school days. There was also a clapboard sign that promised tarot readings within. She could smell incense burning, wafting out into the street from its propped open door. From her vantage point, she could only see a few rows of unlit candles of different shapes and sizes on display. Maybe browsing through their items or getting her tarot read would give her a better sense of perspective. Heavens knew she could use the guidance right about now.
The smell of the coffee was inviting, but the scent of the incense was likewise tantalizing. She stood outside, contemplating over which one appealed to her more.
Phoebe enters the coffee shop. OR
Phoebe enters the occult shop.